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College basketball: Georgetown looking for new coach after firing John Thompson III

John Thompson III was fired as Georgetown's basketball coach Thursday after two consecutive losing seasons at the school his father led to a national championship.

Thompson said in a statement released by agent David Falk that he was “honored” to have been the Hoyas' coach and proud of what his players have “accomplished on the court and how they are thriving since leaving Georgetown.”

“Georgetown Basketball has been a part of my life since 1972,” Thompson's statement said, referring to the year his father took over as the Hoyas' coach, “which makes this moment even more impactful, but I look forward to my next chapter.”

School President John DeGioia told Thompson on Thursday he would not be brought back next year at a basketball program strongly associated with his last name.

“Our tradition of excellence as a university will forever be inextricably linked with John and his family,” DeGioia said in a statement. “We are committed to taking the necessary steps to strengthen our program and maintaining the highest levels of academic integrity and national competitiveness.”

Thompson, known as “JT3,” was Georgetown's head coach for 13 seasons, including a run to the Final Four in 2007 with future NBA players Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert on the roster. But he went a combined 29-36 the last two years, with some of those defeats punctuated by crowd chants of “Fire Thompson!”

What had once been unimaginable — a Thompson being sent away from Georgetown — became a topic of conversation among the team's fans as the losses mounted.

When the subject was broached with Thompson after a defeat against defending national champion Villanova, a team spokesman jumped in to say: “Leave it to game-related questions, please.”

The search for a replacement will be led by former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, vice chair of Georgetown's board of directors, and Athletic Director Lee Reed.

The Hoyas' 14-18 record this season included six losses in a row to finish and marked the team's worst winning percentage since the 1950s. They went 15-18 a year ago, losing seven of their last eight games.

Thompson's record was 278-151 at Georgetown, with eight trips to the NCAA tournament.

NCAA dismisses Louisville’s response in sex-scandal case

The NCAA is standing by its allegations against the Louisville men's basketball program and Rick Pitino, saying the coach failed to notice “red flags” in activities by a former staffer who an escort says hired dancers for sex parties with recruits and players.

“If Pitino saw no red flags in connection with (Andre) McGee's interactions with then prospective and current student-athletes,” the NCAA wrote, “it was because he was not looking for them.”

The next step is a hearing before the NCAA's Committee on Infractions, but no date was set in the governing body's response that was sent to the school last Friday. The NCAA's response included what it described as aggravating factors that led to its conclusions, along with a detailed picture of its investigation that include an excerpt of an interview with Pitino.

Etc.

Former Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey has backed out of an agreement to take over at Massachussets, citing personal reasons. UMass Athletic Director Ryan Bamford said that Kelsey asked to be let out of his contract that was signed Tuesday, making clear that it was for “very personal” reasons. … Washington released high school star Michael Porter Jr. from his national letter of intent. Washington confirmed the decision one day after new Huskies Coach Mike Hopkins was formally introduced. Porter, widely considered the top player in the nation, had committed to Washington under former coach Lorenzo Romar. Porter's father, Michael Porter Sr., was an assistant on Romar's staff. … Duke announced that backup big man Chase Jeter will transfer at the end of the semester. His announcement came a day after Jayson Tatum said he would enter the NBA draft after one season. …

Florida State point guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes is entering the NBA draft. The 6-foot-4 junior made his announcement on Instagram on Thursday and also informed the school of his decision. … Guard Kwe Parker is leaving Tennessee after one year with the program. The 6-footer from Fayetteville, N.C., plans to transfer at the end of the spring semester and will get his release pending the achievement of some specific academic goals and benchmarks. … Rutgers sophomore guard Corey Sanders is entering the NBA draft. In making the announcement, the university said Sanders will not sign with an agent.

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